By Amon Kehr
MLS playoffs underway
The MLS playoffs began this week with four knockout games played on Tuesday and Wednesday. The top two teams in the eastern conference, New York City and Toronto, and the top two in the west, Seattle and Portland, all had first round byes.
The playoffs started with the game between the New York Red Bulls and the Chicago Fire. The Red Bulls got ahead in the seventh minute with a goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips. They would go on to score three more times with goals from Daniel Royer, Sacha Kljestan and Goanzalo Veron, winning the match 4-0. Toronto FC will be the Red Bulls opponent on Monday.
The next game on Tuesday night was just as lopsided as the first. Vancouver defeated San Jose 5-0 in front of the its home crowd at BC Place. The Whitecaps win against San Jose is the second largest margin of victory in the playoffs, second only to Chicago’s 6-0 win against New England
in 2000. The Whitecaps will face their Cascadia rival in Seattle on Sunday.
The two matches on Wednesday were a lot closer than the games on Tuesday. The Columbus Crew faced expansion side Atlanta United at the Mercedez-Benz Dome. The Crew outlasted Atlanta, winning in penalties. Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen was the star on the night, keeping the clean sheet throughout the 90 minutes and overtime and saving a pair of penalties as well. Columbus will play New York City on Tuesday.
The last game of the week was between Houston and Kansas City. The Dynamo defeated Kansas City 1-0 in extra time with a goal from Alberth Elis. This was Houston’s first playoff win in four years. The Dynamo will face Portland on Monday.
England win U-17 World Cup
The England U-17 team defeated Spain on Saturday to claim their first U-17 World Cup title. England went down 2-0 but was able to get one goal back before half. England let loose in the second half, scoring four more goals to claim the title. This is first U-17 World Cup title for England. This is the second youth World Cup title for England this year, as the U-20 team also won a championship in the spring.
England was without one of its top players for most of the tournament, as Jaden Sancho left after the group stage to make his debut at Borussia Dortmund. Before facing Spain, England defeated Japan, United States and Brazil. Striker Rhian Brewster finished as the tournaments top scorer with eight goals and came away with the golden boot. Midfielder Phil Foden won the golden ball as the tournaments best player. England fans will hope to see these groups of young players break through with to their first teams in the near fututre.
Everton fires Ronald Koeman
Everton sacked manager Ronald Koeman this past Monday, only nine matches into the season. Currently in the relegation zone, Everton sits 18th in the table with only eight points. After losing Romelu Lukaku, the team’s star striker from last season, Everton spent £140 during the transfer window to try and fill the gap. Although Everton was big spenders this summer, the results have not shown for them so far.
David Unsworth will take over as a caretaker manager while Everton searches for a more permanent manager. Unsworth has never had been the full-time manager at a club before, he has been caretaker for Preston North End as well as Everton in 2016. Everton’s next three matches will be against Watford, Crystal Palace and Southampton. Everton will also have a match against Lyon in the Europa League.